Interaction design is a crucial component within the giant umbrella of user experience (UX) design.

Interaction design can be defined in basic (but not simplistic) terms: it creates user-product interactions. When people talk about interface design, they usually refer to software products such as applications or websites. However, interaction design aims to build products that help users achieve their goals in the most efficient way feasible.

What is Interaction Design?

If this term appears wide, it's because it is: the interaction between a user and a product frequently encompasses components such as aesthetics, motion, sound, space, and much more. In fact, each of these parts can entail even more specialized professions, such as sound design, which involves the creation of sounds for user interactions.

Principles of Effective Interaction Design

Goal-driven design

The interaction design for the target population should be people-centric. Goal-driven design is primarily concerned with meeting the needs and objectives of the user. Designers often consider technical constraints in this pillar, but the plan is to receive the best possible results.

Because the primary purpose is to provide a solution to the user's needs to improve the output quality, we can always look into using the following approaches to perform user research.

Persona

Personas are fictional characters based on your target users' actions and psychologies. We usually construct multiple personas to cover all user groups we need to address throughout the research process.

User Scenarios

User scenarios describe how the personas behave when using the program. It will provide the designer with a story about how the user will utilize the application to attain their goal. In addition, it will assist designers in determining what drives consumers to interact with the application.

Experience Maps

An experience map is a helpful tool for gaining a better understanding of a product or service from the perspective of its users. An experience map visualizes the user's needs, wants, expectations, and overall product goal experience.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics is required to design three-dimensional, authentic products where physical fit and comfort are crucial. Unfortunately, understanding physical ergonomics has mainly been useless for interface designers in the 2-dimensional world of the display screen. For example, interfaces are created for pre-existing, pre-defined hardware outside the interaction designer's control in most cases.

Because of the increasing range of devices, users, and situations for interaction, knowledge of ergonomic approaches and procedures is becoming a valuable skill set for interaction designers.

Ergonomics aims to achieve a suitable fit between humans and their interacting objects. It could be the items they utilize or the surroundings in which they reside. Therefore, every product, system, or environment should be designed with ergonomics in mind.

Early in the design phase, ergonomics should be a priority. Ignoring ergonomics might result in designs that are unlikely to succeed because they do not meet users' needs.

Ergonomic approaches can often identify chances for innovation when used early in the design process.

Delight Users

Surface delight and deep delight are the two categories of User Delight.

Surface Delight

Surface delight is local and context-specific; it is often derived from a small number of interface characteristics. Each of the following features, for example, may cause surface delight:

  • Animations
  • Transitions in touch or gestural commands
  • Microcopying (injecting comedy and language, anticipating users' questions)
  • High-resolution imagery that is both beautiful and relevant
  • Interactions between sounds

These UI components are frequently gimmicky and can become tacky if the underlying product isn't up to par. However, when used effectively, these characteristics can elicit delight, and as a result, delightful interfaces have become the norm. But to claim that the joy ends here is, at best, naive.

Deep Delight

Deep delight is a holistic experience when all user needs are addressed, such as functionality, dependability, usability, and pleasurability.

Deep delight is a holistic experience when all user needs are addressed, such as functionality, dependability, usability, and pleasurability.

Users may have a negative experience on a website but occasionally find surface delight. On the other hand, deep delight can only be experienced when the person is in a state of "flow" or focused productivity with little interruption from the main work. For example, deep delight is felt when the interface acts as a knowledgeable aid to a user who undertakes an online marketing course. The entire marketing course is inside a gamified environment where all the elements are designed to make the learning experience exciting and joyful.

Deep delight may appear akin to the holy grail — a worthy objective to strive for but difficult to achieve.

Streamlined workflows and fewer pain points are the best ways to attain deep delight. Simply put, it means creating a product that performs as expected (or better) and meets user needs at the appropriate time and location. Deep delight is predicated on an extraordinary user experience. While deep delight isn't as "sexy" as surface delight, laying the groundwork for delight is the most critical first step. We'll lose return on investment (ROI) if we try to achieve surface delight without establishing a decent user experience. Instead, we'll spend time and money on features that won't have as much of an impact.

Deep delight may appear to be akin to the holy grail — a worthy objective to strive for but difficult to achieve. 

This concept is simple, but identifying delight can be challenging because it is not often articulated openly. For example, while study participants may occasionally express their excitement by saying things like "I like this" or "That was simple," they do not always do so when the interface performs as intended. As a result, quantifying and studying what genuinely makes a user experience pleasurable can be challenging.

Even more perplexing is that a highly disappointing or irritating experience can lead to repeat visits and sales, especially in industries with loyalty programs and high expenses of transferring to a different company. So is generating user delight a worthwhile goal for designers to pursue? To answer that question, we must first comprehend the user needs hierarchy and how it affects the user experience.

Users remember the bad more than the good because of their negative bias. Delightful features will likely fail to deliver any long-term advantage to your user base if your product or service lacks essential operation and stability. On the other hand, if your product is easy to use, you've already won half the battle.

Test for Usability

The ease of access to the program, product, or service the user will be utilizing is known as usability. Usability makes a significant contribution to UX. There are three primary outputs of a usable interface. 

  • First, the user should become familiar with the program in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Second, it should be straightforward for the user to accomplish their goal in a fair amount of time.
  • Third, after multiple visits, the user should recall the user interface and utilize it with ease.

Apart from these three universally agreed aspects, the following laws also contribute to a positive interaction:

Hick’s Law

Psychologist William Edmund Hick proposed a simple yet revolutionary idea: the more options a person has, the longer it takes them to make a decision. This is because a user must weigh more options, which can be confusing. In other words, while having a lot of options may be beneficial in some areas, it is detrimental when dealing with digital items. Viewers can make basic judgments in sections using interaction design. While a consumer on a website may have many possibilities, most e-commerce stores employ Hick's rule to segment choices and categorize things for more straightforward searching, clicking, and buying.

Fitts’ Law

Fitts' law was initially applied to workers' performance on an assembly line in 1954. Even though the relationship between an object's distance, speed, and proximity is a complex equation, the conclusion is that the larger a thing is, the faster a person can point it out. Fitts' law is applied to the design of buttons and menus to make them easy to push and navigate, whether a user uses a finger or a cursor.

Tesler’s Law

Larry Tesler, a former vice president of Apple, has said that every application has a certain level of complexity beyond which it can no longer be simplified. So it's up to the designer to move as much complexity as possible away from the user. This results in a simple user interface to browse and adheres to Hick's law.

know the principles of effective interaction design by an award-winning Product Strategy and UX Design Firm, WANDR

Why is Interaction Design Important

The necessity to offer software experiences to users in a way that makes sense, fits their needs, is consistent and logical, "usable," and ultimately desired spawned the field of "interaction design."

Have you ever been annoyed by a TV remote that didn't work or a doorknob that was difficult to operate? What if you downloaded an app but had no idea how to use it? These problems arise from a lack of understanding of interaction design. We may prevent them by becoming specialists in the field, gaining a solid foundation in usability, information architecture, user-centered design, and knowledge of practical design patterns.

It's especially essential because users who become frustrated when engaging with apps are more likely to close and remove them after the first time they try them.

One of the main aspects that make people return to software and desire to use it again is the display and interaction. This is why businesses should consider bringing in IT outsourcing services, especially if they lack the internal resources or time to focus on effective UX design.

Interactive design mustn't be forgotten or ignored. In reality, it should be regarded as a critical activity, on par with other internal product development activities.

identify the importance of interaction design by WANDR Studio, UX Design Firm in LA

Dimensions of Interaction Design

Words

You may believe that writing is simply putting one word after another, but there is a lot to consider while selecting your words. Users will naturally have a favorable manner of interacting with your business if you use them correctly. When you write, it's just as awful as not writing at all if you don't think about who you're talking to. Words on a website should be simple to grasp while also conveying a lot of information – and they should speak to the proper demographic. The rule of thumb here is to utilize straightforward language with little fluff.

Visual Representations

In the digital world, visuals refer to anything that isn't a word, such as typography, photographs, icons, infographics, and other graphical features. The first step in capturing a user's attention is to use images. If you fail to use a picture, people are unlikely to read the words you labored over. Visual representations can be just as effective as words. Users should be able to interact with them naturally and intuitively.

Physical Objects or Space

It's important to create nice graphics, but they won't have the same impact if you don't position them in the correct spot. Cluttered web design harms interaction since it makes it more difficult for visitors to interact with the many sections of websites. Keep in mind that the physical items and spacing will vary by device. For example, a company's mobile design should be distinct from its desktop design. Firms must consider these factors when designing interaction because a person's physical environment can influence how they interact with a website.

Time

The concept of time dimension refers to how media can change over time and how motion and sound influence how a user navigates and interacts with a product. It's also worth noting how much time a user spends interacting with the product and how they might resume the interaction later.

Behavior

Interaction design is concerned with how users interact with websites. To put it another way, how do the four elements above interact to influence a user's interaction with a product? The user experience is also improved by looking at the emotional response from users and forming new recommendations based on that feedback.

different dimensions of interaction design shared by WANDR, top-ranked UX Design Agency.

Interaction Design vs User Experience Design

After learning about the former, many people are confused about the difference between interaction design and user experience design. While there is considerable overlap, there are also significant variations between the two.

In the field of user experience design:

  • The usability of a website is essential, but it isn't the only goal of user experience.
  • In terms of UX, a digital product like a website or app must appeal to a user on multiple levels.
  • Specifications and back-end development aid a user's understanding and navigation of a site.
  • In an ideal world, a user derives value by using the product.

 Many of the same principles apply to interaction design. There are, however, a few distinctions:

  • The entire focus of interaction design is on how a user interacts with a product.
  • The method by which a human communicates with a product is called interaction design.
  • In producing a design, an interface designer typically has extra responsibilities, such as customer research, getting feedback, and doing field studies.

To put it another way, interaction design is a subset of user experience in that it intersects with it. For example, a UX designer is more concerned with the end product. In contrast, an interaction designer is more concerned with the processes that result in communicative user experiences.

Here's an example: a website is like a brand-new amusement park. The interaction designer created the park's plan and constructed roadways that connect rides and evaluate how traffic will flow through the park. The user experience designer, on the other hand, will collect consumer input and provide suggestions to improve the park-going experience.

interaction design vs. user experience design by WANDR Studio, UX Design Firm

What Are User Experience (UX) and User Experience Design (UXD)?

User Experience Design (UXD)

The primary need for an exceptional user experience is to meet the customer's particular wants with minimal fuss. Then there's the delight of owning and using items that are simple and elegant. Giving clients what they think they want or providing checklist features is the beginning of an authentic user experience. Finally, seamless integration of the services of several disciplines, such as engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design, is required to produce a high-quality user experience in a company's offerings.

Even though the user interface (UI) is an enormously significant aspect of the design, it's essential to distinguish the whole user experience from the user interface (UI). Consider a website that provides movie reviews as an example. Even if the UI for locating a film is flawless if the underlying database only contains movies from major studios, the UX for a user who needs information about a small independent release will be missing.

User Experience Design (UXD)

User experience design encompasses various disciplines, including interface design, information architecture, graphic design, usability, and human-computer interaction.

UX design, in other words, is the process of creating (digital or physical) things that are helpful, simple to use, and enjoyable to interact with. It's all about improving people's interactions with your product and ensuring that they find value in what you're offering. User experience designers bring together market research, product development, strategy, and design to create seamless user experiences for products, services, and processes. They serve as a link between the firm and the client, allowing the organization to understand better — and meet — their requirements and expectations.

What Do Interaction Designers Do?

An interaction designer creates interaction designs based on user data, research, and team feedback to provide seamless and meaningful experiences for their users. The approach is split down into emotional and physical engagement principles to ensure that the consumer finds the product engaging yet simple. Features and interactions are planned while keeping in mind the business requirements and the technical effort required to implement them.

Finally, an interaction designer relies heavily on instinct. This only gets better with time and practice, which is why UX teams are developed from the ground up.

Alan Cooper, author of one of the most important books about interaction design by WANDR, UX Design Firm

What Is an Interaction Design Framework?

A framework for interface design is a collection of patterns that work together to solve a broader challenge (like an entire search system). A complete search system, for example, would include:

  • Search results.
  • Pagination at the bottom of search results pages.
  • Possibly a type-ahead pattern.
  • An Advanced Search option with its page.

All of this is captured by an Interactive Design framework, which ensures that the solution is applied consistently across various sites (also offering us a solid ground for when to be inconsistent).

Every piece of the framework will not be used by every site that uses it. Some will have significant differences. However, these are the most common patterns you'll notice. They lay the groundwork for the type of website you're creating. You can design faster and better if you learn to spot and document these patterns.

Interaction design is a broad term, but it's known to lay the groundwork to improve every area of what you provide to potential clients and interested parties.

But what are your plans for the future? Gaining a broad understanding of how people interact with your product, service, or solution will allow you to build experiences that matter in an increasingly digital environment.

To give interested parties and customers exactly what they want, you'll need an interaction design approach, and our experts at Wandr can help with that. Book a free consultation call and we can help you get started.